Baby Turtles

Baby Turtle Doodlewash

Yesterday’s post got me thinking about childhood pets that used to be really popular so today’s little thing is a baby turtle. In the late 70’s I had a friend up the street who had 3 of these little guys and I used to visit them. Actually the kid was sort of weird and there was always something a bit off about him, but since he had baby turtles and I didn’t, that meant he was my friend. Things were a little more black and white in childhood.

The turtles were super cute, but I forget what their names were. What I remember more were the various urban legends of baby turtles being flushed down toilets only to live on as large sewer creatures. These stories would later become the foundation for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the early-mid 80’s. This was disturbing to me and I remember telling my “friend” to promise never to flush them down the toilet. He just looked at me strangely and was probably thinking there was something a bit off about me, but since I liked his turtles, I was his friend.

Large turtle creatures were one thing, but as late as the 60’s there were still souvenir shops in Florida selling baby alligators to stupid tourists as novelty souvenirs. The stories still being told when I was a kid varied, but usually once the surprising discovery was made that baby alligators don’t stay that size, the parents would flush them down the toilet. The creatures would then live on and strike fear in sewer workers or any curious child who might go exploring under ground. As a kid, this was both terrifying and exciting all at the same time.

As an adult, I look back and think some parents must have been amazingly stupid or just rather cruel. I can’t imagine anyone being shocked that a living thing doesn’t stay a baby forever. And flushing any living thing down the toilet is just a horrible thought to me now. But I can see the allure, as I think pretty much any baby version of any creature is pretty cute. Except for spiders. They just look weird and scary at any age.

I almost chose baby animals as my theme for this month, but decided on little things so I could have a bit of flexibility. But I love them, so I’m sure they’ll be lots more coming. As for the baby turtles, I never knew what happened to them. The kid up the street moved to some small town I’d never heard of before and the turtles presumably went with him. It was for the best, I guess, since our relationship was built on a mutual admiration that had nothing to do with each other. And it was entirely likely, he was right, and I was the weird one.


About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Azo Green, Quinacridone Gold, Ultramarine Blue, Burt Sienna, Sap Green, Phthalocyanine Green, Cobalt Blue, Neutral Tint and Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
Published in By Charlie
46 Comments
  1. 2l2phant 2 years ago

    Reblogged this on 2l2phant.

  2. jotsfromasmallapt 2 years ago

    Can’t imagine anyone thinking you were not the best friend ever. And a bit wierd, too. I see that as win-win!

  3. Kari 2 years ago

    The baby turtle is adorable! Wonderful textures and color variation! I actually have never heard of that urban legend about baby turtles. Did you see that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are coming back to the big screens? Not a whole lot of originality in the movies lately. I hope I get to see more baby animals! ❤️

    • Author

      Thanks Kari! Glad you liked this! Actually I think the alligators were the primary legend, but the turtles popped up too where I lived. And yeah…they keep trying to relaunch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but it looks so weird when they do! And you’ll definitely be getting more baby animals. Hehe 😉

  4. That Aussie Geek 2 years ago

    Nicely painted!

  5. artandmoondreams 2 years ago

    Fantastic painting. Love how you got the texture of skin and turtle shell with all the color layering for depth. Wonderfully done.

    • Author

      Thanks Haunani!! 💕😃 I’m so glad you liked it. I’m always worried my layers will get muddy because I never wait for anything to dry fully. Too impatient! 😊hehe

  6. Teri C 2 years ago

    Wonderful painting of the turtle and the egg shell. Love your sense of humor in the stories you tell.
    A few years ago we saw baby snapping turtles break out of their eggs and head to the lake. Can you believe I stood there and sketched the process. Every spring we go back there thinking the story is going to repeat itself. Not!

    • Author

      Thanks Teri! So happy you liked the post! And yes…I can totally believe that…what an amazing thing to witness and sketch! One day it will happen again, I’m sure! 😉👍🏻

  7. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    Turtles and tortoises are remarkable creatures. It’s amazing to me that there so many different kinds and sizes. Your little turtle fellow turned out great! I think that same kid lived in our neighborhood. Hehe

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon!! 💕😃 I’ve been wanting to try doodlewashing a turtle for quite some time! Hehe And maybe that kid moved to your neighborhood!! Lol

  8. Aww, he’s so cute! Looking forward to more little paintings from my not weird but totally unique and cool bro! 💛💛💛

    • Author

      Hehe!! Thanks Laura!! 💜😃 I also thought little things would mean I could do faster paintings, but I keep picking rather complex subjects. 😊 either that or I make them complex with all the detail I jam in there! Lol

      • Lol no doubt, Charlie! Maybe with the workweek returning, you’ll ease up on yourself a bit.

      • Author

        I’ll just have to paint faster!! Hehe Gonna have a lot less time this week. We’ll see what happens! I miss my vacation already!! 😊

      • At least you have an arty type of job, though! But I know what you mean, totally. <3

      • Author

        Yes! I haven’t ever had a job that’s not somewhat artsy. I don’t know how to do anything else! 😊hehe

  9. kirkistan 2 years ago

    Diggin that image.

  10. memadtwo 2 years ago

    Very reptilian painting. As usual, I’m particularly taken with the expression on his face.
    We had turtles as kids, but as I recall they never lived very long. My brother would also bring home box turtles to keep in the tree well in our backyard. He fed them raw hamburger meat. Eventually he’d get bored with them and take them back to the woods. (K)

    • Author

      Thanks Kerfe!! I sort of make up the expression on reptiles…they don’t seem to have quite as much in my references. 😊 I had another, less weird friend with a box turtle. I also remember painting turtle shells at some point. Wonder what your brother’s turtles thought of their little vacation… must have been like visiting a resort to get hamburger meat!

      • memadtwo 2 years ago

        I never thought about that! But no doubt they liked the luxurious meals. Although the accommodations were not the best…

      • Author

        Hehe…yeah…probably better to just visit and then return home! 😉

  11. izabolinha 2 years ago

    🙂 <3 🙂

  12. ArtsyDot 2 years ago

    Wow…that looks like a hard subject to paint! You did a good job Charlie. I particularly like this dark blue on the tortoise shell and the shine effect on it.

  13. ArtsyDot 2 years ago

    May I ask how long it took to sketch and paint this?

    • Author

      Most of my doodlewashes are an hour or less, but this little guy took me a little longer. It was about an hour and 20 to complete him.

  14. Cathe 2 years ago

    Love your turtle Charlie and this is a great theme…combo platter of small and baby. I hadn’t heard of people flushing turtles, just alligators which still kind of freaks me out.

    Hope re-entry into the work world goes smoothly for you today…back to a full 5 days, sigh.

    • Author

      Thanks Cathe!! 💕😃 Yeah…people do weird things, but glad you liked my little turtle. As for re-entry…going okay so far…taking it slow! Hehe 😉Hope yours goes well!

  15. Snehal Kank 2 years ago

    Baby turtle is very cute! beautifully painted!

  16. Jacob 2 years ago

    Your turtle is beautiful. I’ve always thought turtles really cool and I think at one stage we were actually going to get some, but we never did unfortunately. I guess there’s still time! The flushing is sad… and as for alligators, it’s insane to think people would see fit to buy one in the first place. Why on earth?

    I don’t think I’ve ever watched TNMT – I think my brother liked it but it was just before my time. Am I missing out?

    • Author

      I have no idea on TNMT…I didn’t really watch it but Philippe liked it! And people are just weird and apparently dumb if they think baby alligators are separate breed and don’t grow up! Lol Since I haven’t seen TNMT you’ll be thankful to know you don’t have to add that to your already burgeoning watch list. 😉

      • Jacob 2 years ago

        Thank heavens! I was worried there for a second! 😉

  17. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    Thanks Charlie for making me laugh! 😃 I really hope you do write that book and include some of your wonderful humor in it! 😜 I’d by it in an instant! 👍💖💕 As for flushing animals down the toilet, I think this should be outlawed – even if the animal is dead. My hubby wanted to flush a dead mouse one time and I kept envisioning it coming back alive and biting it in my a*# so I made him bury it in the forest. Lol! Your baby turtle is fabulous! 😄🐢💜

    • Author

      Awww thanks Jill! If I ever manage to write enough to fill a book I might consider it! Hehe ❤️😃😊 And that’s hilarious! I agree! I’d be worried of the same thing. As my mother always said, better safe than having your a*# bitten! Actually she never said that, but it would have been sound advice if she had.

  18. artpony 2 years ago

    Beautifully done. Looking forward to more!

  19. […] I posted last month about baby turtles and how baby alligators used to be a popular pet for tourists so I won’t repeat myself. That said, I’m not entirely sure what I have to say about alligators. I could mention that I think this is an American alligator, but the only other living species is the Chinese alligator and I really couldn’t tell a significant difference. Like attempting to discern the gender of a cat. So this could be Chinese, I’m not entirely sure. […]

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